Researchers investigate how vial sizes can be optimized to reduce pharmaceutical wastage

New study shows how drug manufacturers can reduce wastage, and therefore their costs, by altering the size of the vials they produce

Heidelberg | New York, 5 December 2018

AHEAPharmaceuticals are often dosed according to patient weight or body size which means that a dose must be individually measured. In a new study, lead author Anthony Hatswell of Delta Hat Limited and University College London in the UK, shows that by optimizing drug dose sizes available, wastage can be cut by as much as 50 per cent. The research is in the Adis journal Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, which is published by Springer Nature.

Many pharmaceuticals, such as drugs used for cancer treatment, are only available in standard quantities, for example in 100 milligram packages. In this study, Hatswell and his co-author Joshua Porter investigated how the quantity of medicine in each package could be varied to reduce the overall wastage. This would allow manufacturers to cut their costs, helping to make medicines available to patients.

To calculate the level of wastage, the authors looked at statistics from the Health Survey for England, which gives data on the height and weight of over 5000 individuals. Using this data they calculated how much drug would be wasted at every combination of vial sizes. The analysis was then tailored to the characteristics of patients with the disease (for example, males are heavier and taller than females on average), before the total wastage was aggregated over the population. By looking at all possible combinations of package sizes, Hatswell and Porter were then able to find those with low levels of wastage. The steps laid out in the publication can therefore be applied to any drug that does not  have a fixed dose.

The researchers found that wastage from the cancer drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda®, Merck, which is on track for sales of more than $5 billion in 2018) could be cut from 13.3 per cent to 8.7 per cent. Similarly the prostate cancer drug cabazitaxel (Jevtana®, Sanofi) could see wastage cut from a projected 19.4 per cent to 6.5 per cent.

“We use methods such as integer programming and operations research which date back to the Second World War and are widely used in the manufacturing of consumer goods. Their application to healthcare represents a novel step which ultimately we hope will help patients access important new medicines,” explains Hatswell.

Reference: Hatswell & Porter (2018). Reducing drug wastage in pharmaceuticals dosed by weight or body surface areas by optimising vial sizes, Applied Health Economics and Health Policy DOI: 10.1007/s40258-018-0444-0

 

Call for Papers: Themed Issue – Improving Transparency in Decision Models

Call for Papers: Themed Issue – Improving Transparency in Decision Models

PharmacoEconomics invites the submission of papers (original research, reviews and opinion pieces) on improving transparency in decision models for a themed issue of the journal to be published in 2019 and guest edited by Paul Tappenden (University of Sheffield) and Jaime Caro (London School of Economics and McGill University). We encourage papers from the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders including methodologists, payers, health technology assessment bodies, analysts, pharmaceutical industry, advocacy groups and software developers. Country-specific perspectives are also encouraged. Papers can be either methodological or applied.  Continue reading “Call for Papers: Themed Issue – Improving Transparency in Decision Models”

Call for Papers: Special Issue – The Economics of Mental Health

Call for Papers: Special Issue – The Economics of Mental Health

Applied Health Economics and Health Policy invites the submission of manuscripts with a focus on the economics of mental health for a special issue of the journal to be published in 2019.

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Impact Factor: 1.89

Estimates suggest that the annual cost of mental illness to developed countries is around 4% of GDP and results in around 12 million days of reduced productivity each year. To further our understanding of these issues, Applied Health Economics and Health Policy is calling for papers that explore the economic dimensions of mental health. Some key questions this work may consider include:

  • Are resources allocated efficiently in mental health?
  • What is the economic cost of mental illness?
  • What would be the return on investment of a scaled-up response to the burden of mental ill health?

The Guest Editors for the special issue are Professor Chris Doran and Dr Irina Kinchin from Central Queensland University, Australia.

Please submit an abstract describing your proposed paper by 30 September 2018 to the Editor, Tim Wrightson. Full papers will be invited by 31 October 2018 with manuscripts due in March 2019.

Reporting Cost Effectiveness Analyses: Time for Improvement

Chris Carswell, Co-Editor in Chief, PharmacoEconomics

I am not a frequent blogger but one recurring issue has forced me to put finger to keyboard – insufficient detail and transparency in many submitted cost effectiveness analyses. Reporting checklists have been available for many years. According to Web of Science, the 1996 Drummond checklist[1] has been cited over 950 times. CHEERS[2], published in 2013, has been cited over 260 times and is one of the most downloaded Task Force Reports from the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. In addition, authors continue to identify the need for reporting improvement to aid transparency and facilitate model replication.[3] So, why the apparent lack of compliance with well-recognized reporting checklists? Continue reading “Reporting Cost Effectiveness Analyses: Time for Improvement”

Drugs in R&D obtains ESCI indexing

The open access journal Drugs in R&D was recently included in Clarivate Analytics’ Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI). The ESCI only considers journals that are peer reviewed, have ethical publishing practices, meet technical requirements, have English language bibliographic information, and be recommended or requested by a scholarly audience of Web of Science users.

The ESCI was launched in 2015 and citations from the ESCI will be included in the citation counts for the Journal Citation Reports that contribute to the Impact Factors of other journals. Journals in the ESCI will be discoverable via the Web of Science with an identical indexing process to other indexed journals, including citation counts and author information. Articles in ESCI indexed journals will also be included in an author’s H-Index calculation and analyses conducted with Web of Science data and related products such as InCites.

Inclusion in ESCI will improve the visibility of a journal and provides a mark of quality which should encourage submissions from authors

New health economics book gets airtime

New health economics book gets airtime

Professor Simon Eckermann recently launched his book Health Economics from Theory to Practice: Optimally Informing Joint Decisions of Research, Reimbursement and Regulation with Health System Budget Constraints and Community Objectives. Now, a related interview with Professor Eckermann has been broadcast on National Radio’s Health Report. This reflects the fact that, although it is a high-level academic book aimed at specialist audiences, the application of health economics is relevant to the general population. The book provides a robust set of health economic principles and methods to inform societal decisions in relation to research, reimbursement and regulation (pricing and monitoring of performance in practice). The recent launch of the book involved a public policy lecture entitled “Successful baby boomer ageing with budget constraints: where should baby boomer ageing be heading”.